Building a strong core can make pregnancy easier and help you recover faster after childbirth. It’s also the best way to prevent back problems and make labor go more quickly. Yet, most pregnant women ignore these muscles and focus on training their arms, legs, or glutes. Having strong abdominal muscles can lower your risk of incontinence, hip pain, and pelvic floor dysfunction. Your only job is to train your abs once or twice a week.
So, here are four pregnancy exercises for a strong core:
The roll-up is widely used in Pilates for strengthening the core muscles. This simple exercise works much better than crunches for toning your abs. Even though it requires a flexible spine and a lot of core strength, it’s safe during pregnancy. The key is to stabilize your pelvis and use slow, controlled movements. Complete up to three sets, 10 to 15 reps each.
This move strengthens your whole body, especially your abs, arms, and shoulders. To get started, lean against a wall with your hands, keeping the feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows slowly until your chest reaches the wall. Maintain a neutral spine. Return to the initial position. Repeat up to 15 times.
The side plank is one of the best core exercises for future moms. This move engages nearly every muscle and improves your balance. Simply lie on your right side, with your right shoulder placed above your right elbow. Raise yourself onto your forearm, keeping your knees, hips, and shoulders in alignment. Hold for at least 30 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat on your left side.
The diaphragm plays a key role in core strength and respiration. Training this muscle through breathing exercises will improve abdominal and pelvic floor muscle function. Diaphragmatic breathing can also help relieve stress, decrease blood pressure, and reduce muscle tension.
If you have never tried this exercise before, start lying down on the floor. Place a pillow under your head. Keep your knees bent. Put your right hand at the side of your chest and your left hand on your upper abs. Breathe in deeply and slowly so that you can feel your ribs expand. When you exhale, you should feel the ribs gently draw back together. As you progress, place a small book or other light weight on your stomach. Once you learn how to do it, practice breathing correctly while exercising.